January 17, 2017

Sen. Warren Questions HHS Secretary-Designate's Suitability, Priorities for Agency

Warren Continues Careful Oversight, Examination of President-elect Trump Nominees

20-Page Letter Sent in Advance of January 18 Committee Hearing

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary-Designate Congressman Tom Price, outlining concerns with his suitability to run the agency given his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and privatize and cut Medicare and Medicaid, opposition to improving women's health care coverage and protecting the LGBTQ community's access to health services, and involvement in trading health-related stocks while sponsoring legislation that would impact those stocks.

"After reviewing your record," wrote Senator Warren, "I am not convinced that you are willing or able to handle [the agency's] responsibilities.  I am also not convinced that your policies and views as HHS Secretary would benefit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

Senator Warren outlined grave concern in eight separate issues areas, including conflicts of interest, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid, health care for women, health care for the LGBTQ community, the importance of science in health policy, halting the opioid epidemic, and funding for biomedical research.  The letter contained 53 questions for Rep. Price, and asked that he come prepared to answer them at the hearing and provide detailed written answers promptly thereafter.

"The HHS Secretary is responsible for programs that provide high quality, accessible, and affordable health care to millions of Americans," wrote Senator Warren. "The Department sets basic standards for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, pays for billions of dollars-worth of medical procedures and pharmaceuticals via the Medicare and Medicaid programs, enforces regulations covering everything from food, drug, and medical device safety to nursing home quality, runs the nation's premier medical research institutions, and is responsible for day-to-day public health promotion and for responding to urgent health care emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. It is critical that the HHS Secretary understand the importance of these programs and implement and enforce them effectively and efficiently, without ideological or partisan bias."

The letter follows oversight letters to Department of Education Secretary-Designate Betsy DeVos and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary-Designate, Dr. Ben Carson.